Friday, October 17, 2008

James 1:1-4 Part 4

James 1:1-4

Time of Preparation/Proving

Naomi experienced the famine in Israel, moved to a foreign country, and lost both sons and a husband. Yet it was there she met Ruth(1), who would become the many-great-grandmother of Jesus.

Young Joseph (2) was sold by his own brothers into slavery as a result, in part, to his inability to control his tongue. Once in Egypt, though, he was an exemplary youth, upright in all his ways. His righteous refusal to sleep with Potiphar’s wife landed him in prison(3). Yet God used these two years as a time to prepare Joseph for the great task planned (4) for him. (5)

Jesus was without sin (6), and yet He suffered forty, hungry days in the wilderness (7) before beginning His earthly ministry.

The disciples were in the boat with Jesus, right where they were supposed to be, when a storm arose griping their hearts with fear. Yet without the storm, there would have been no “Peace, be still” (8), a lost opportunity to really know the Prince of Peace.

A Personal Story

The years 2000-2001 found the Jeffcoat family in a war-ravaged part of Europe serving a two year missionary term. I cannot overstate how difficult this period of time was for us. It didn’t take long for my “Wow, God!” to become “Oh, God! What did I do to deserve this? Have we made some mistake? Are we being punished?” Yet, we knew absolutely God had told us to be there. Obedience to God shouldn’t be so painful, should it? It took a while for me to realize that sometimes our obedience is a trial, a time of pruning(9), if you will.


During our “pruning” time, someone said, “If you feel as if God is spending a lot of time ‘trimming your branches’, it is only because He sees something worth using in your life. He tosses those He can’t use into the fire.” (10)

Also realize that every period of preparation and proving is followed by fruit bearing/and or spiritual breakthrough. Ruth became part of the genealogy of Christ, Joseph became second in command of a nation, Jesus saved the world, the disciples changed the world, and the Jeffcoat family learned that when Jesus is all you have, He truly is all you need.

(1) Ruth
(2) Genesis 37
(3) Genesis 39
(4) Gensis 41
(5) Disclaimer: This is a prime example of why we cannot put our trials into neat packages. Joseph’s jail term was the result of Potiphar’s wife’s sin, persecution for being righteous, and was ultimately a time of preparation. I chose to place it in this category because it is an excellent example of a preparation/proving.
Hebrews 4:15
(7) Matthew 4:1-11
(8) Mark 4:35-41
(9) John 15:2
(10) John 15:5-6

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